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 In Focus

Media, Representation, and Networks: Constructing Contemporary Social

Published 2000-01-20


In 2003 Professor Peter Dahlgren, Lund University started a STINT Institutional Grant supported project, cooperating with l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes de Sciences Sociales, EHESS in Paris, France. The project will link up Media Studies and Social Anthropology and has received an annual funding of SEK 150 000.

image=48] Launched in 2003, this is intended to be a four-year institutional exchange program. From Lund University, this exchange program is comprised of Media and Communication Studies, and Social Anthropology, with Prof. Jonathan Friedman from that unit being my co-coordinator. On the French side is l’École des Hautes Études de Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, a leading centre in France for doctoral studies in the social and human sciences. Prof. Alban Bensa of the Laboratoire Genèse et transformation des mondes sociaux is the official coordinator there. Prof. Friedman also holds a position at this Laboratoire, which has helped facilitate the exchange. The program takes several forms: group visits with seminars, individual faculty visits, and individual advising. The working language is English.

The program has as its overarching theme Media, Representation, and Networks: Constructing Contemporary Social Worlds. This theme interrogate the media’s role in the construction and transformation of contemporary social worlds at key sites within everyday life, organizations, movements, and larger institutions. Within Media Studies and Social Anthropology, as well as Sociology, we can find shared modes of social and cultural theory; These help us to cooperatively address the processes of making sense of ourselves and the worlds we create and inhabit.

Our exchange program took its first major step in early November, 2003, with a delegation from Lund visitng l’École des Hautes Études de Sciences Sociales (EHESS) for three days of seminars. The results of this visit were such that an interest for more seminars on the media emerged at EHESS. Together with a French colleague, I took the initiative for holding at EHESS a two-day intensive course on media research in March 2004, with over 20 doctoral students attending both days. This was followed up in May, 2004, with the visit in Lund of two professors and half a dozen doctoral students from EHESS.

During the autumn of 2004 there have been a number of individual visits of EHESS faculty to Lund, and during the spring, we will again have a group exchanges in both directions. Moreover, as the seminar texts from these visits grow in number Prof. Friedman and I are beginning to work on an edited anthology that will demonstrate the character of our intellectual endeavours.

An important development taking place at EHESS is that in Sept. 2005 they will be launching a program specifically in media studies, in a consortium with the universities of Paris II and Paris III. It will follow the new European Bologna model, with a two-year Masters program and a three-.year doctoral program in media studies. I have been consulting with them about these programs. Further, I will be having a sabbatical leave the autumn term 2005, and I intend to spend a good part of it at EHESS.

The benefits of this program became visible to us almost immediately. This is a splendid experience in the internationalisation of higher education and research. It provides all the participants with cross-fertilization of our respective subject areas. For the senior researchers it has meant an opportunity to share perspectives with colleagues that they in all likelihood would not have otherwise met. Already thoughts about developing new networks and projects are being discussed. However, I would say that the biggest payoff here is for the doctoral students on both sides. They are being exposed to a different academic culture, with not only its specific intellectual traditions, but even its own ways of doing things on a day-to-day basis. This widening of horizons is immensely important and fruitful in the context of growing European integration and cooperation within academic life.

Peter Dahlgren
Media and Communication Studies
Lund University

Senast uppdaterad: 05-05-20 11:53

 
 
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